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Population Shifts in Contemporary Greek Macedonia by Iakovos D. Michailidis

Population Shifts in Contemporary Greek Macedonia by Iakovos D. Michailidis

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Published by Makedonas Akritas
The liberation of Macedonia in the period of the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) constituted the culmination and the recompense of Greek irredentist activity in the region. For decades both its own Greek-speaking inhabitants and their brothers in the free Kingdom of the Hellenes had increasingly longed for the union of the two territories. Their triumphal welcoming of the lands acquired under the terms of the Treaty of Bucharest was therefore perfectly natural. But once the victory celebrations were over, the Greek administration found itself facing the accumulation of serious problems that had built up in the region as a result of the chronic Ottoman negligence and incompetence in conjunction with the multilevel internal ethnic diversity.
According to the available statistics, on the eve of the Liberation Macedonia had a population of approximately 1,205,000, of whom just 370,000 (31%) were Greekspeakers, 260,000 (21.5%) were Slav-speakers (Patriarchists and Exarchists) and 475,000 (39.5%) were Muslims, with Jews and other groups making up the remaining 98,000 (8%).
The ethnic fragmentation of Macedonia and the universally admitted numerical inferiority of its Greek-speaking inhabitants, especially in the continuing climate of uncertainty caused by the war, were indisputably major headaches for the Greek administration.
The liberation of Macedonia in the period of the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) constituted the culmination and the recompense of Greek irredentist activity in the region. For decades both its own Greek-speaking inhabitants and their brothers in the free Kingdom of the Hellenes had increasingly longed for the union of the two territories. Their triumphal welcoming of the lands acquired under the terms of the Treaty of Bucharest was therefore perfectly natural. But once the victory celebrations were over, the Greek administration found itself facing the accumulation of serious problems that had built up in the region as a result of the chronic Ottoman negligence and incompetence in conjunction with the multilevel internal ethnic diversity.
According to the available statistics, on the eve of the Liberation Macedonia had a population of approximately 1,205,000, of whom just 370,000 (31%) were Greekspeakers, 260,000 (21.5%) were Slav-speakers (Patriarchists and Exarchists) and 475,000 (39.5%) were Muslims, with Jews and other groups making up the remaining 98,000 (8%).
The ethnic fragmentation of Macedonia and the universally admitted numerical inferiority of its Greek-speaking inhabitants, especially in the continuing climate of uncertainty caused by the war, were indisputably major headaches for the Greek administration.

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Published by: Makedonas Akritas on Jun 26, 2010
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XVII.
Population Shifts in Contemporary GreekMacedonia
by Iakovos D. Michailidis
 Assistant Professor in Contemporary and Modern History, Department of History and Archaeology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
The liberation of Macedonia in the period of the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) constitutedthe culmination and the recompense of Greek irredentist activity in the region. For de-cades both its own Greek-speaking inhabitants and their brothers in the free Kingdom of the Hellenes had increasingly longed for the union of the two territories. Their trium- phal welcoming of the lands acquired under the terms of the Treaty of Bucharest wastherefore perfectly natural. But once the victory celebrations were over, the Greek ad-ministration found itself facing the accumulation of serious problems that had built upin the region as a result of the chronic Ottoman negligence and incompetence in con- junction with the multilevel internal ethnic diversity.According to the available statistics, on the eve of the Liberation Macedonia had a population of approximately 1,205,000, of whom just 370,000 (31%) were Greek-speakers, 260,000 (21.5%) were Slav-speakers (Patriarchists and Exarchists) and475,000 (39.5%) were Muslims, with Jews and other groups making up the remaining98,000 (8%).The ethnic fragmentation of Macedonia and the universally admitted numericalinferiority of its Greek-speaking inhabitants, especially in the continuing climate of un-certainty caused by the war, were indisputably major headaches for the Greek administration.
1. The war decade (1912–1920)
The conversion of Macedonia into a theatre of war for an entire decade (1910-1920)naturally resulted in extensive demographic changes. Alexandros Pallis, who was re-sponsible for refugee relief in Macedonia, counted a total of 12 mass movements of Greek-speaking, Turkish-speaking and Slavic-speaking populations into and out of theMacedonian hinterland during that period.
1
 Those leaving Macedonia were in the main Slavic-speakers or members of theMuslim minority. There was a mass exodus of Slavic-speakers from Macedonia to Bul-garia as the Greek army advanced during the Second Balkan War. This wave of emigration came mainly from Eastern and Central Macedonia, with only a relativelylimited number of Slavic-speakers leaving Western Macedonia. The next few years sawonly sporadic shifts of Slavic-speaking populations. In the summer of 1916, the Bulgar-ian forces that invaded Eastern Macedonia were followed by a significant number of Slavic-speakers.
2
In the end, however, these latter did not remain long on Greek soil,since in the autumn of 1918, they once again headed into exile in front of the advancingallied forces. According to the statistics, some 40,000 Slavic-speakers left Greece dur-ing the period of the Balkan Wars. It is worth stressing that the bulk of the Slavophoneemigration during this period came from Central and Eastern Macedonia, while after 1914 it came mainly from Western Macedonia.
3
This is not difficult to explain, given
 
358 P
OPULATION
S
HIFTS IN
C
ONTEMPORARY
G
REEK 
M
ACEDONIA
 that during the Balkan Wars both Central and Eastern Macedonia were arenas of fiercefighting between the Greek and Bulgarian armies. It was, therefore, natural that a sub-stantial proportion of the local Slavic-speaking population should abandon the regionwith the retreat of the defeated Bulgarian troops. Western Macedonia, by contrast, wasnot a battleground at this time, having the previous year (1912) passed relatively easilyfrom Ottoman hands to Greek. The establishment of a Greek administration after theend of the Balkan Wars, however, decided many of the Slavic-speakers who refused toaccept it to leave Greek Macedonia. It is fair to assume that the majority of them camefrom Western Macedonia, on the one hand because the rest of Macedonia had already been emptied of most of its pro-Bulgarian inhabitants and on the other because the bulk of the Slavic-speakers lived in the administrative districts of Florina, Kozani and Kas-toria. The Russian Consul in Thessaloniki, in fact, arranged for the majority of theemigrants from Western Macedonia to be directed to Western Thrace, which the Treatyof Bucharest had ceded to Bulgaria.
4
 A detailed breakdown of the figure of 40,000 Slavic-speakers who left Macedoniain the period 1912-1919 is given below.
1.1. Western Macedonia
Figures forwarded in May 1922 from the Governor-General of Kozani-Florina tothe Ministry of the Interior show that a total of 1604 people had emigrated from the re-gion since the beginning of the 20
th
century, as set out below:
5
 
Village Number of individuals
 Sub-district of Kaïlaria
 Emporio
77
 Palaiohori
19
 Drossero
6
Olympiada
15
 Anarrahi
4
 Perdikkas
1
 Asvestopetra
Sub-Total 125
 Sub-district of Florina
 Aetos
5
Meliti
4
 Papayiannis
2
Mesohori
6
 Neohoraki
1
 Ahlada
3
 Perikopi
20
 Flambouro
1
 Pedino
2
 Akritas
7
 Agios Panteleimonas
27
 
I
AKOVOS
D.
 
M
ICHAILIDIS
359
Village Number of individuals
 Xyno Nero
70
Vrontero
4
 Pyxos
5
 Florina
67
 Alona
6
Skopia
5
 Armenohori
1
 Perasma
37
 Ammohori
65
Sfika
57
Oxya
7
 Kranies
1
Mikrolimni
3
 Karyes
1
 Agios Yermanos
11
 Psarades
1
 Dasseri
1
 Amyntaion
9
 Kelli
13
Triantafilia
16
 Atrapos
4
 Leptokaryes
2
Ydroissa
16
Trivouno
23
 Polypotamos
15
Trigono
1
 Kotas
2
 Koryfi
7
Sklithro
9
 Asproyia
16
Sitaria
7
 Kleidi
2
Vevi
14
Sub-Total 576
 Sub-district of Kastoria
 Prassino
6
Melas
9
Makrohori
32
Vatohori
9
Moschohori
50
 Krystallopigi
82
 Aposkepos
15
Mavrokampos
2
 Kraniona
15

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